India cellcos face 3G data ban over security fears: report

Staff writer
21 Dec 2010
Daily News

India’s 3G operators will reportedly be banned from offering data services in one week unless they can demonstrate the ability of law enforcement officials to monitor data traffic in real time.

The Economic Times of India, citing an unnamed senior Department of Telecom (DoT) official, reports that the Intelligence Bureau demanded a temporary ban on all 3G data services during a meeting Monday between representatives of telcos, the home ministry and security agencies.

Operators have been given seven days to show that data services can be tapped in real time, the report said.

Last week, the DoT placed as ban on 3G video calls over similar concerns over real-time tapping, despite operator objections that there is no technology available to monitor live video calls.

State-owned BSNL and MTNL, as well as private operators Reliance Communications (and Tata Teleservices, have already launched 3G services. A ban would force 3G licensees Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, and Aircel to delay their launch plans.

“If we need to go through an equipment retesting drill, services will be delayed for at least six to eight weeks,” an anonymous telecoms official told the ET.

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